Social News Aggregator Nuzzel Raises $1.7M From Lowercase, Homebrew, And Others

Nuzzel, the social news startup led by Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams, says it has raised $1.7 million in new funding.

The news follows the launch of the Nuzzel iPhone app a month ago. Abrams told me via email that the company had only spent about half of its original seed funding (which also totaled $1.7 million), but there was “additional investment interest from some really interesting folks,” so he decided to raise a second seed round.

The core concept behind Nuzzel is pretty straightforward — it makes it easy to see the news stories that have been most-shared by your friends on Twitter and Facebook. (You can expand beyond those stories by looking at headlines shared by friends of friends, or at the news feeds of individual users.)

Thanks to last month’s launch, not only did Nuzzel finally have a smartphone app, but it also added what’s become my favorite feature, news alerts about stories that are tweeted by lots of your friends. (Twitter has experimenting with similar alerts, though only for TV-related conversations so far.)

Abrams recently blogged about how the iPhone app got featured in Apple’s App Store, and he also highlighted some of the buzz, including some positive commentary from yours truly and from some folks who turned out to be investors in the new round. Homebrew’s Hunter Walk called it the “best social news app” while Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca said he “uses it every single day.” (Abrams told me Walk, Sacca, and Homebrew’s Lowercase’s Matt Mazzeo were all “super-active Nuzzel users prior to investing.”)

The main purpose of the funding is to hire new engineers — the Nuzzel team is four people, and Abrams is hoping to hire three more.

Here’s the list of new investors (previous backers also participated) that Abrams gave me:

  • Chris Sacca & Matt Mazzeo (Lowercase Capital, which just raised a new $25 million fund)
  • Hunter Walk & Satya Patel (Homebrew)
  • Ullas Naik (Streamlined Ventures)
  • DG (Digital Garage) Incubation
  • WiL (World Innovation Lab)
  • DeNA
  • MOL
  • Angel investors including Chris Michel, Daniel Lurie, Darmesh Shah, Gordon Crawford, Jon Boutelle, Narendra Rocherolle, Nicolas Heyman, Othman Laraki, Russ Fradin, and Ryan Spoon